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Washington, D.C. [February 19, 2009]--Leading Veterans organizations this week urged the Administration and Congress to fund early lung cancer detection research at the Veterans Administration - a call to action strongly supported by the Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA).
Each year the Veterans organizations issue the "Independent Budget" request to Congress and the Veterans Administration which contains their priorities for spending on benefits and health care. In their 2010 budget request, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) called for a $3 million pilot screening program for veterans at high risk for lung cancer.
The Independent Budget document states, "Lung cancer has a disproportionate impact on veterans, especially those exposed to carcinogens during active duty. A pilot screening program can assess those risks, improve survivability and provide the Department of Veterans Affairs with vital cost/benefit data on the efficacy of early diagnosis.”
Lung cancer takes more lives each year in the military and civilian populations than the next four most common cancers - breast, prostate, colon and pancreas - combined. The
LCA board member Admiral T. Joseph Lopez (USN ret.) called lung cancer "the stealth killer" since it often takes decades to develop and exhibits no clear symptoms until late stage. "That's why this pilot screening research program is so very important," he said.
Only 16% of lung cancer is being diagnosed at an early stage when it can be cured.
In addition to greater exposure to known lung cancer carcinogens such as asbestos on older ships and submarines and Agent Orange, veterans have higher "ever smoked" rates than the civilian population.
Admiral Lopez and Lung Cancer Alliance President Laurie Fenton-Ambrose praised the veterans’ organizations for going on record again for their strong support of early detection research.
To view the lung cancer specific language of the IB, click here.
To view the entire Independent Budget, visit www.independentbudget.org